Thursday, 18 February 1999:

Memories of a Move

Boy, this last week at Epic is really wiping me out. Probably it doesn't help that I've been busy every night (save Sunday) for the last week. Sheesh!

Wednesday I made all the calls to turn off my utilities and stop my newspaper. Even though I've long since pass "the point of no return", I find that it's only marginally easier to make each successive phone calls and thereby plunge deeper into the jungle. It's just that all-encompassing sense of finality surrounding me, knowing that I'm really doing this. Even now, it's a little hard to believe. I bet it will be hard to believe for a couple of weeks after I move, to know that that's where I am, and I'm really not coming back to Madison.

I don't really remember much about leaving New Orleans after college and coming to Madison, even though it was only in 1991. I spent June and July of that summer in New Orleans, struggling through a research project while being thoroughly burned out from my senior year. Meanwhile, my relationship with my girlfriend at the time - Kathleen - was self-destructing. I remember 'officially' breaking up the night before I left town, and then driving out of town and thinking as I rode the elevated highway past downtown that she was down there somewhere, working. (I've never seen her since, though we've exchanged a few letters. I haven't heard from her in two or three years.)

I spent the next month or so with my folks in Boston, including a week and a half on Cape Cod. The last few days of that vacation occurred during the coup in the Soviet Union, and at the same time a hurricane came up the east coast and hit the Cape. So we had the surreal experience of sitting watching TV when the local news would break in with a weather update - and immediately be pre-empted for the national news talking about the coup. And then the power went out and we went to bed, or something.

I did manage to get off the Cape on schedule, and drove 1200 miles to Madison, where I'd only visited once, a few months before. I had an incomplete map in a brochure the UW sent me (why didn't I get a street map ahead of time? Beats me) but somehow managed to find my landlord to get the key, and then to find my way to my new apartment. I remember doing a little biking, and the orientation session at grad school, although only sketchily.

Hmm, maybe that is a fair amount to remember. It all seems so long ago, though.

Went down to the weekly SF3 social thing yesterday. Steve, a guy who used to be in the group when he lived in town, was visiting to recruit at the UW for his current employer, Microsoft. I'd suggested that we should shake hands and see if we cancel each other out. He later wondered how much of Apple is presently owned by Microsoft. Heh.

This was probably the last time I'll see many of those people on a regular basis (although I may see some of them on Sunday for an APA collation party), so a few people who don't usually show up on Wednesdays were there. I'll miss them.

Today at work we had my going-away lunch, just going out to a nearby burger joint/brewpub (which has really good fries). About 20 people showed up, which was nice. I ate too much, of course. I am going to need to start biking ASAP when I get to California.

I've been slowly packing up and taking things home from work this week. My office is just about empty. Unfortunately, this last chunk of my final project has turned out to be even hairier than I'd thought - in particular, one of the implicit assumptions in the algorithm of the design document turns out not to be correct. It's not insurmountable, but it does make things more complicated, which takes time, and time is something I don't have, obviously.

But I've been working pretty hard to make things come together as much as possible, so I don't feel too badly. Fortunately, there is some slack in the schedule for the rest of the team, and I've gotten enough of the overall project done that I'm not (I think!) leaving them in the lurch.

Oh, and I took my car into the shop today. I got an oil change, and I got much-needed new tires. And I had them look at the little starting problem I've been having lately. Their short tests didn't find the problem, but one mechanic theorized that it has to do with the "three-stage choke" that older Hondas apparently have, and that one of the stages may be getting clogged at certain temperatures. He thinks the problem will therefore not be serious in the warmer California climate. So, we'll see what happens.

(I talked to John tonight and he says it's currently 40s and rainy in the bay area. Ick. Hopefully it'll be nicer a week from now when I've got free time to go exploring.)

Tonight I made a run to the airport to check on some cat-transportation stuff; the more I talk to people about it, the easier it sounds like it will be, which obviously puts my mind at ease. And at this point, any time spent putting my mind at ease is time well spent.

And, I finished reading Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's comic book series From Hell, which is Moore's take on the Jack the Ripper murders. Campbell's art has never much interested me and I think it mainly works here due to Moore's storytelling skill (though the architecture is lovely), but Moore's story is excellent, being an intriguingly nonjudgmental telling of the murders in their entirety with Moore spelling out all the details which are actually unknown, starting with the background of the man he posits as the killer. I had always been rather ambivalent about reading it, but once I got past the tiresome second volume (of ten), I blew through the remainder quickly.

Unfortunately, several volumes are out-of-print, and the publisher - Kitchen Sink - has recently gone out of business. So if you're interested, I recommend snapping up the volumes you can find at your local comics shop, and turning to rec.arts.comics.marketplace for the remainder. That's what I did.

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